Meet the Board

Professor Dame Joan Stringer FRSE – Chair

Dame Joan Stringer retired as the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University in 2013, after more than 10 years in post. In 2001, Dame Joan was awarded a CBE for Services to Higher Education and she was made a DBE in 2009 for Services to Local and National Higher Education. She has held a number of senior public appointments with esteemed organisations such as the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, Grampian Health Board, and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. She currently chairs Capital Theatres, and is a Council member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Institute of Directors.  In 2011, she was named Public Sector Leader of the Year at the Scottish Leadership Awards.

Alasdair Peacock – Vice Chair

Alasdair Peacock is the UK head of the Corporate and Banking practice group of international law firm DWF LLP and is a member of the Banking, Company and Insolvency Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland.

Lesley Drummond

Lesley Drummond has a career that includes qualifying as a chartered accountant and a chartered marketer. She has worked across a wide range of industries and sectors including education, consumer goods, drinks, retail, financial services and investment trusts.  Currently, she owns and manages a Ladies Boutique, (both a bricks and mortar and an online store) and is a Non Executive Director of Edinburgh College.

Tony Mills

Tony Mills is the Artistic Director of Room 2 Manoeuvre and hails from the Orkney Isles. Since giving up veterinary surgery whites for tights, he has worked with Freshmess Dance Company, State of Emergency, Off Kilter, Iron Oxide, Curious Seed, David Hughes Dance Productions, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, Derevo, and the international street dance show, Blaze. His adventures in choreography have seen him assist Ian Spink for Scottish Ballet’s EIF production, Petruska, as well as commissions for arts organisations and professional and youth dance companies. He has also worked as a movement director/choreographer in theatre for companies such as Terra incognita and commercially for high-profile stars such as Martin Garrix and Kelly Rowland. Tony is a keen ambassador for the breakdance scene in Scotland and has been involved in the production and hosting of major dance events including Castle Rocks Breakdance Championships, the Edinburgh leg of the national Breakin’ Convention tours in 2007 - 17, and Breakin’ Rules at the Dundee Rep Theatre. Tony continually creates new work for Room 2 Manoeuvre, most recently the international co-production, Without A Hitch, with Jojo Dance Centre (Finland), Dance Base, and The Brunton.

Andrew Neilson

Andrew is an award-winning PR who has worked in communications for over 15 years and currently manages media relations for NatWest, having previously worked for the BBC, National Theatre of Scotland, and Assembly. He is also a committee member of CIPR Scotland, the Chartered Banker Institute and a member of BAFTA Scotland.

Neil Patey

Neil qualified as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS and spent the majority of his 37 year career working in a transaction advisory role with Big 4 firm EY, advising clients across a broad range of sectors, both within the UK and internationally.  As a partner, Neil held various leadership roles within EY in the UK. Prior to retiring from the partnership at EY in 2022, Neil held the position of Chief Development Officer for EY’s EMIEA area as a member of the Global Corporate Development team.

James Saville

James has 35 years of experience in HR, with over 20 years at Director level. He has worked in food manufacturing, and financial services, and ran his own strategic HR consultancy. He led the HR, Group Operations and IT teams in the Civil Service Department for International Development. He joined the University of Edinburgh as Director of HR in 2018. He won the 2014 Civil Service Champion of Disability Award for his work on ending mental health stigma. His team was the 2015 Scottish HR Network Team of the Year for its work on the Ebola crisis.

James is an experienced Non-Executive Director. He also sits on the People Committee of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services and served on the boards of the drugs charity Crew2000, the Scottish Book Trust, and the Scottish Senior HR Leadership Group. 

James is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Martin Reynolds

Martin Reynolds is the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Games Federation, the global organisation responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and associated legacy and sport for development projects.  He has held senior marketing roles across the Edinburgh Festivals, the National Galleries of Scotland, Sydney Opera House and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Until recently, he was also the lead consultant for Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s China Ready initiative. His first job was as a Front of House usher at the King’s Theatre whilst studying at Edinburgh University and he is delighted to be able to now contribute to Capital Theatres as a Trustee.

Finn Ross Russell

Fin Ross Russell is the co-founder of Island Life Productions, an Edinburgh-based Community Interest Company working with emerging artists and members of the public to create high-quality art. Since founding the company, he completed his BA in Drama, Applied Theatre & Education from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. Following a year working at Chichester Festival Theatre as the theatre's Education Assistant, Fin moved up to Edinburgh where alongside running the company, he has worked as a freelance facilitator for various companies including the Brunton Theatre, Ignite Theatre, Scottish Youth Theatre, Edinburgh City Council, Strange Town, Imaginate, LYRA, PACE Theatre Company and Lyceum Youth Theatre. Fin’s directing experience includes Millennium Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty (January 2023) and the Brunton Theatre’s Model Behaviour (March 2023) and assistant directing Perth Theatre's main-stage production of Chaos (February 2022). Fin also lectures for the CGO Institute.

Karyn Watt

Karyn is a partner and Head of Infrastructure at Anderson Strathern. She has over 30 years construction industry experience and is a Law Society of Scotland Accredited Specialist in Construction Law.  She is also a member of the Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group, which plays a vital role in shaping the country’s economic ambitions.  Karyn is also called to the New York Bar and is a qualified mediator.  Karyn was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland in 2013.

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan is currently the SNP Spokesperson on Culture as well as the SNP Baillie for the City of Edinburgh. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, and several board memberships across Edinburgh’s cultural organisations including the Edinburgh Science Festival, Imaginate, the Children’s Festival, along with several other community and anti-racism organisations.

Cllr Val Walker